Active learning begins with curricular ideas that entice and intrigue children. Maria Montessori understood that in the early 1900s, yet enticement is often missing in children’s educational experiences. One of the reasons for this is curriculum driven by mandates that have nothing to do with what intrigues children—not because anyone intends to turn children off to learning but because policy-makers’ goals are driven by efficiency (which is especially true in a strained economy). Large classrooms and quantifiable results are conducive to efficiency.
Efficient classrooms lack choice, exploration, and instruction that is based on children’s interests. These educational qualities are neither efficient nor easily quantified, but they are the qualities that capture and maintain children’s intrigue.
To accomplish these important educational goals, Dancing Moose limits class sizes, and two teachers always work together to provide one-on-one and small group lessons that allow children to have choice and flexibility, and to work at their own pace.
Dancing Moose faculty members attended the MEPI (Montessori Education Programs International) to share project-oriented curriculum that is differentiated to meet varied developmental levels of children at Dancing Moose. State core standards are incorporated into this curriculum; yet with a limited number of students in each class, teachers are able to adapt lessons with built-in choices and levels of learning. As a result, every child can be led by his or her interests and proceed at the pace that is best suited to the child. Dancing Moose prides itself in enticing curriculum and is eager to share ideas with MEPI schools that share their values.